Merlina and the Addams Locos: from comics to a worldwide phenomenon

“Merlina” is the return of the Addams family to television.

Photo: Courtesy: Netflix

With Jenna Ortega playing the role of Addams Family daughter Merlina in Tim Burton’s Netflix series of the same name, she becomes the seventh actress to play the role on television. The fictional family, which has been alive in popular culture for nearly 90 years, has become a worldwide phenomenon with celebrities like Anjelica Houston and Christina Ricci playing members of the Addams family.

The origin of the singular family dates back to 1938, when they appeared for the first time in a series of comics originally published in the magazine The New Yorker. Initially, 150 unrelated short stories made their debut on paper. However, her tenure at the magazine spanned fifty years and in the process sparked a love for the characters that only grew over time. This is how they went from paper to the big and small screen.

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The cartoonist Charles Addams was the architect behind the birth of the family that bears his last name. His original idea was to create a satirical version of what a respectable family nucleus of the 20th century should have been, and this is how this clan was created, made up of a father, Gómez, a mother named Morticia, two children: Merlina and Pericles, with their pet octopus: Aristotle. . There are also Uncle Fester, Grandma, and the butler named Largo. Most of the original comics were published between 1940 and 1950. Charles Addams met Ray Bradbury in 1946 after illustrating one of his short stories. This was the beginning of a long friendship and a pretense of collaboration, with a theme similar to that of “Los locos Addams”, which never came to an end.

“Gómez and Pericles are excited. Morticia is even in disposition, mute, witty, sometimes deadly. Grandma Frump is silly good-natured. Wednesday she is the daughter of her mother. A tight-knit family, the real head is Morticia, though everyone else is a defined character, except for Grandma, who is easy to handle. Many of the problems they have as a family are due to the clumsy and weak character of the grandmother. The house is a mess of course, but this is a proud family home all the same and all the hatches are in good repair. Money is not a problem, ”said Charles Addams about his characters in the book“ The Addams Family: an evilution ”.

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Regarded as an affluent but quirky family that revels in the macabre, the Addams clan continued to grow with the first television adaptation in 1964 and the arrival of Cousin Thing and Hand. However, with the passage of the Addams to the screen, his appearance in the role died for good. The producer of this first series, Nat Perrin, gave his characters less bleak characteristics and created a series that lasted two seasons, but which cemented the legacy of Charles Addams and his fictional family in the history of comics, television and the cinema. First to play them were: Carolyn Jones as Morticia, John Astin as Gomez, Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester, Blossom Rock as Grandma Addams, Lisa Loring as Merlina and Ken Weatherwax as Pericles.

“Charles had ups and downs with the TV show. He certainly enjoyed it and acknowledged that ‘The Addams Family’ multiplied his earning power, but said the characters looked ‘half as evil’ as they really did,” said Linda H. Davis, author of the Addams biography , regarding the opinion of the creator of the family on the first adaptation.

The actors who played the family members were turned into two-dimensional animations during the 1970s, first with an appearance on the series. Scooby Doo and then, in 1973, with his own animated series. Although the success of the Addams had an impact more on a social level than in economic terms, the franchise continued to grow with films that debuted in the 1990s.

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The first one was released in 1991, with the title “Los locos Addams”, and it was not so well received, although it generated a “decent” income at the box office. The fate of the sequel, “The Addams Family 2: The Tradition Continues,” was a bleaker one: well received by critics, but dismal at the box office. For their participation in the films, the cast made up of Raúl Julia, Anjelica Houston, Christina Ricci, Christopher Lloyd and Joan Cusack, received multiple nominations and won several awards such as the Saturn and the American Comedy Award.

Ten years passed before the Addams family was discussed again and the first to do so was Tim Burton, who in 2010 spoke of a stop-motion project that was never made. But that was not the end of the characters of Charles Addams, who passed away in 1988. In 2013, Metro Goldwyn Mayer announced that a 3D animated film was in development and was released in 2019. A sequel appeared in 2021, both were not as successful. as their film counterparts had been in the past.

“Merlina” marks the return of the Addams Locos to the small screen and continues to extend the legacy of the family that has been captivating its audience around the world for almost 90 years.

When does “Merlina” premiere on Netflix?

Tim Burton’s series, in which actress Jenna Ortega plays Merlina Addams, premiered on November 23 on the streaming platform. The cast includes the presence of Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of Morticia, Luis Guzmán as Gómez Addams, Isaac Ordóñez in the role of Pericles Addams, Emma Myers as Enid Sinclair and Christina Ricci, who in the 90s films gave life Merlina Addams, joined this new installment as Marilyn Thornhill.

“Merlina” will be a comedy that will focus on the eldest daughter of the Addams family, and on her way to Nevermore Academy. Merlina’s arrival will not be peaceful, as the young woman will discover that a horrible and monstrous massacre has occurred in the town next to her school, in addition to discovering a supernatural mystery that will be related to her family.

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Merlina and the Addams Locos: from comics to a worldwide phenomenon